This post is brought to you by The Huntington National Bank and The Motherhood. All opinions are completely my own.
How to Create Your Best Financial Life
It’s not hard to spend money or should I say – it’s not hard for me to spend money. When it was just Andy & I, if we had the money, it was spending money. Then after the birth of the twins, we definitely cut back on our ‘couple’ spending, but were still spending because we had twins. As I look back on our fun 20s, we definitely should have been saving and budgeting more. Luckily, we did not have many bad money habits and made some sound financial decisions.
As we have grown older and wiser, we have realized that we actually do have some bad habits when it comes to family finances. We wanted to work on our financial goals, save more money for our family and our future, and spend our money on what’s important for our family (like traveling and vacations). However, we could not do that continuing to spend like we did before. So, I wanted to share some steps and tools we are using to help us that can help you & your family finances, too.
- Recognize & realize
Recognize & Realize
Recognize that you want to really curb your spending and save money to improve your financial health. Realize what that concept means for your financial status. You are going to have to give up something (or a lot of things). I think we all know we don’t need to spend so much money on XYZ or that we do not need XYZ, and then we find a way to justify spending on XYZ. I wanted these black boots a few years ago. Did I need them? Nope. I wanted them, they were on sale and they were a good price too (my justification), and I got them.
Now, I approach buying beyond “do I need them right now,” which is usually no. However, I ask myself other questions, not only to help justify my purchase but also to either hold off or not purchase at all. Then I ask – will I need them a month or a few months from now? Can I save and buy this later?
Budgeting isn’t easy. And I have always said Andy is better at this than me, but I have been working more on this. As a Huntington Ambassador, I have discovered the Huntington Heads Up® tool that helps me know when to splurge and when to save.
With the Huntington Heads Up tool, we create budgets for categories like eating out, which has subcategories like breakfast, lunch, and dinner. And this is the cool part (because this is where I can come up short), Huntington helps set up budgets based on our spending history. Personally, for me, tracking all the expenses can be daunting and tedious, so I like that this was done for me.
We enrolled in the Huntington Heads Up alerts and set the monthly amounts we want to spend on each category; then Huntington will send you a Heads Up text/email/push notification to keep you on track in real-time (as always, message and data rates may apply). With this, we know when we are spending more than our average or close to our spending limits. We can see how we are doing at the beginning, middle, and end of the month. No surprises.
Recognize, realize, budget – and now you are ready to set goals for your money. How are you going to save or spend? How are you going to prioritize your spending? We are setting some goals this year (you may have read about reaching our financial goals). We have added a few more big goals for 2020, like a family vacation to a Spanish-speaking country with our kids (our kids are bilingual in English & Spanish) and another family trip overseas.
We do splurge on some things like monthly massages, books for the kids (yes, we know about the library, but our kids like owning their books, and we save in library fines, lol), unlimited car washes, of course food (we like steak and seafood), and family experiences throughout the year. We try to make sure every dollar has a purpose in spending or saving. You can adjust accordingly every month – for example, in November and December, we adjust for the holidays and family gatherings. In March, we adjust for traveling (hopefully) and doing more with the kids in the upcoming summer months.
So, what do you like to spend on? What are your money saving goals? What are you doing to help you financial life?